Saturday, October 24, 2015

Relationship Goals

We're All a Handful...of Books

From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day — violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world…or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

After growing up in the south where she was "homeschooled for hippie reasons", Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.

Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism — just like her memoir.

Hilarious and inspirational, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now — even for a digital misfit.

From the author of the award-winning novel Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic comes an eponymous novella and three stories that range fluidly across time, tenderly exploring the act of writing and the moment of creation when characters come alive on the page; the lifetime consequences that can come from a simple act; and the way our lives play across the world, marking language, image and each other.

Thirteen Ways of Looking is framed by two author’s notes, each dealing with the brutal attack the author suffered last year and strikes at the heart of contemporary issues at home and in Ireland, the author’s birth place.

Brilliant in its clarity and deftness, this collection reminds us, again, why Colum McCann is considered among the very best contemporary writers.

On December 11, 1973, Mark Segal disrupted a live broadcast of the CBS Evening News when he sat on the desk directly between the camera and news anchor Walter Cronkite, yelling, "Gays protest CBS prejudice!" He was wrestled to the studio floor by the stagehands on live national television, thus ending LGBT invisibility. But this one victory left many more battles to fight, and creativity was required to find a way to challenge stereotypes surrounding the LGBT community. Mark Segal's job, as he saw it, was to show the nation who gay people are: our sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers.

Because of activists like Mark Segal, whose life work is dramatically detailed in this poignant and important memoir, today there are openly LGBT people working in the White House and throughout corporate America. An entire community of gay world citizens is now finding the voice that they need to become visible.

Legendary influential performer Grace Jones offers a revealing account of her spectacular career and turbulent life, charting the development of a persona that has made her one of the world’s most recognizable artists.

As a singer, model, and actress—a deluxe triple threat—Grace has consistently been an extreme, challenging presence in the entertainment world since her emergence as an international model in the 1970s. Celebrated for her audacious talent and trailblazing style, Grace became one of the most unforgettable, free-spirited characters to emerge from the historic Studio 54, recording glittering disco classics such as I Need a Man and La Vie en Rose. Her provocative shows in underground New York nightclubs saw her hailed as a disco queen, gay icon, and gender defying iconoclast.

In 1980, the always ambitious Grace escaped a crowded disco scene to pursue more experimental interests. Her music also broke free, blending house, reggae, and electronica into a timeless hybrid that led to classic hits such as Pull Up to the Bumper and Slave to the Rhythm. In the memoir she once promised never to write, Grace offers an intimate insight into her evolving style, personal philosophies, and varied career—including her roles in the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and the James Bond movie A View to a Kill.

Featuring sixteen pages of stunning full-color photographs, many from her own personal archive, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs follows this ageless creative nomad as she rejects her strict religious upbringing in Jamaica; conquers New York, Paris, and the 1980s; answers to no-one; and lives to fight again and again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The How to Put a Condom On Video We ALL Needed in High School

I'm pretty sure if this was my instruction on how to put on a condom, I'd still be negative.

Via Accidental Bear

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kim Davis Defies Judge's Order

Photo by Jessica Ebelhar for The New York Times

MOREHEAD, Ky. — Nearly two months after the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, a county clerk’s office here — in defiance of a federal court order — turned away two gay couples seeking marriage licenses on Thursday, taking a stand that has infuriated gay rights advocates but buoyed Christian conservatives who insist their religious freedoms are being violated.

Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, who says her Christian faith bars her from authorizing same-sex marriages, has refused to issue any licenses, either to same-sex or heterosexual couples. Her actions come in the wake of the historic ruling in June in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, despite a direct order from Gov. Steven L. Beshear, that she do so.

On Wednesday, Judge David L. Bunning of the United States District Court of Eastern Kentucky, ruling in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of four couples — two same-sex and two heterosexual — ordered Ms. Davis to resume issuing licenses. But lawyers for Ms. Davis immediately appealed, and Thursday morning, Ms. Davis did not show up at work.

“People are cruel, and this is wrong,” said David Ermold, 41, who with his partner, David Moore, 39, went to the clerk’s office here, where they were told that no licenses would be issued today. Roberta Early, a deputy clerk, said the matter was “still under litigation, and nothing has changed, and we still can’t issue them.”

Read more via the NYT

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Check Out Some Books

London awakes one morning to find itself besieged by a sky full of floating icebergs. Destroyed oil rigs, mysteriously reborn, clamber from the sea and onto the land, driven by an obscure but violent purpose. An anatomy student cuts open a cadaver to discover impossibly intricate designs carved into a corpse's bones—designs clearly present from birth, bearing mute testimony to…what?

Of such concepts and unforgettable images are made the twenty-eight stories in this collection—many published here for the first time. By turns speculative, satirical, and heart-wrenching, fresh in form and language, and featuring a cast of damaged yet hopeful seekers who come face-to-face with the deep weirdness of the world—and at times the deeper weirdness of themselves—Three Moments of an Explosion is a fitting showcase for one of our most original voices.

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.

In the tradition of Paula Hawkins's instant New York Times bestseller The Girl On the Train and S. J. Watson’s riveting national sensation Before I Go To Sleep, this gripping literary debut from UK novelist Ruth Ware will leave you on the edge of your seat through the very last page.

Thomas Piketty ― whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century pushed inequality to the forefront of public debate ― wrote The Economics of Inequality as an introduction to the conceptual and factual background necessary for interpreting changes in economic inequality over time. This concise text has established itself as an indispensable guide for students and general readers in France, where it has been regularly updated and revised. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer, The Economics of Inequality now appears in English for the first time.

Piketty begins by explaining how inequality evolves and how economists measure it. In subsequent chapters, he explores variances in income and ownership of capital and the variety of policies used to reduce these gaps. Along the way, with characteristic clarity and precision, he introduces key ideas about the relationship between labor and capital, the effects of different systems of taxation, the distinction between “historical” and “political” time, the impact of education and technological change, the nature of capital markets, the role of unions, and apparent tensions between the pursuit of efficiency and the pursuit of fairness.

Succinct, accessible, and authoritative, this is the ideal place to start for those who want to understand the fundamental issues at the heart of one of the most pressing concerns in contemporary economics and politics.

In his meticulous notes on the natural history of Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau records the first open flowers of highbush blueberry on May 11, 1853. If he were to look for the first blueberry flowers in Concord today, mid-May would be too late. In the 160 years since Thoreau’s writings, warming temperatures have pushed blueberry flowering three weeks earlier, and in 2012, following a winter and spring of record-breaking warmth, blueberries began flowering on April 1 — six weeks earlier than in Thoreau’s time. The climate around Thoreau’s beloved Walden Pond is changing, with visible ecological consequences.

In Walden Warming, Richard B. Primack uses Thoreau and Walden, icons of the conservation movement, to track the effects of a warming climate on Concord’s plants and animals. Under the attentive eyes of Primack, the notes that Thoreau made years ago are transformed from charming observations into scientific data sets. Primack finds that many wildflower species that Thoreau observed—including familiar groups such as irises, asters, and lilies—have declined in abundance or have disappeared from Concord. Primack also describes how warming temperatures have altered other aspects of Thoreau’s Concord, from the dates when ice departs from Walden Pond in late winter, to the arrival of birds in the spring, to the populations of fish, salamanders, and butterflies that live in the woodlands, river meadows, and ponds.

Primack demonstrates that climate change is already here, and it is affecting not just Walden Pond but many other places in Concord and the surrounding region. Although we need to continue pressuring our political leaders to take action, Primack urges us each to heed the advice Thoreau offers in Walden: to “live simply and wisely.” In the process, we can each minimize our own contributions to our warming climate.

When Noel Bostock—aged ten, no family—is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vera Sedge — a thirty-six-year old widow drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.

Noel’s mourning his godmother Mattie, a former suffragette. Wise beyond his years, raised with a disdain for authority and an eclectic attitude toward education, he has little in common with other children and even less with the impulsive Vee, who hurtles from one self-made crisis to the next. The war’s provided unprecedented opportunities for making money, but what Vee needs — and what she’s never had — is a cool head and the ability to make a plan.

On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.

Together, they cook up a scheme. Crisscrossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war — and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all…

The Original, Uncensored Version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Relax

Upon it's initial release, the BBC banned the single Relax, though it continued to be played on some stations and eventually reached No. 2.

Here in the States, Relax was one of my favorite childhood songs. Even as a child, I wondered why the song was played on my country-bumpkin pop station out of Evansville, Indiana. And though I didn't have the words to describe what I knew, I knew the song was about something that I wanted and liked and knew.

I remember having a boyhood, unnameable crush on Paul Rutherford, and now seeing this version of the video, Holly Johnson was everything that I want to be - a clean cut looking perv.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sweet Dreams

Via Sex, Love, and More Sex

Yesterday Fandom Fest Louisville

My friend Jimmy and I went to Fandomfest in Louisville yesterday. I have another picture to post but first I need to buy the digital copy of it: it's of me and Eva Myles (Gwen Cooper) and Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones)! Both were very sweet and I had a very enjoyable time - temporary incarceration by members of the Empire notwithstanding.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Julio Cortezar's House Taken Over

The Ouerbacker House. Abandoned in Louisville, KY.

Thanks to the Internet, I was able to find a pdf of Julio Cortezar's classic (creepy) short story "House Taken Over" (though I've seen some issues with either the translation, the transcription or possibly the scanning of it into a pdf, but still...)

So enjoy:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The song that is getting me through life

Devin Moss and Treasure Island Media

So in February 2014, Treasure Island Media released a 3-DVD set called Legendary: The Best of Christian, and I will be ordering this as soon as I get paid on Thursday - Christian is possibly the hottest bottom on the planet and the DVD-set includes a 90 minute cumpilation, if you will, of all of the loads that Christian has ever taken.

What I don't understand, given the internet/porn buzz of Devin Moss having his first bareback scene with Morgan Black, why I don't really see anything online - at least none of the trumpets I expect - that there is a previously unreleased scene on the set featuring a bareback gangbang in which Devin Moss is one of the tops!

This seems important - or possibly it is just me. But for anyone else out there who cares, there are now officially TWO bareback scenes involving Devin Moss. (Three if you count an amateur vid that I once saw. You never see his face but it's obviously his dick and his tat, but I've never been able to find it since.)

So enjoy, but be sure to use some lube to combat chafing.

Is there a reason you're trying to be subtle in saying that Scout could be a lesbian?

So for Harper Lee fans, today is D-Day: Go Set a Watchman has been released and I personally just checked in roughly a dozen copies here at my library and sent them on their merry way to customers.

But what about Maureen Corrigan's NPR review of Watchman? Is it just me, or is she suggesting that Scout is a lesbian, without actually saying as much, and that Harper Lee, who has never married, didn't have the language or the "social imagination" to describe that experience? And if you aren't savvy to what exactly Fun Home is and who it is by, that reference may sweep right past you.

And given that we've had the language of the gay experience (or at least the homosexual experience) for a good 100 years before the writing of Watchman (the 1950s), even if in veiled terms reminiscent of what Ms. Corrigan is doing herself now in the 21st century, and that in To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee shows herself to have quite a bit of "social imagination," why Corrigan's namby pamby, tiptoeing around the issue now?

I mean didn't gay marriage just become the law of the land? Is she worried that she might turn someone off from the book by *gasp* saying that Scout could potentially be a dyke? Is that somehow worse that Atticus joining the Klan?

Read the review at NPR

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bits and Pieces: The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Image via HuffPo

Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a chronicle [word choice? Greek, epic poem connotations?] of her life during a time when her partner Harry Dodge is transition to a Butch on T while Maggie is attempting to become pregnant. Well, while, and before and after. There's a lot of discussion on gender, sexuality, queer theory, and family.

I highly recommend it - though be prepared to keep your laptop or phone nearby so you can google people, theories and quotes - it made my head hurt some - honestly, I told a coworker who read it before me, that I didn't think I was intelligent enough to read it, but well worth the effort.

I beheld and still behold in anger and agony the eagerness of the world to throw piles of shit on those of us who want to savage or simply cannot help but savage the norms that so desperately need savaging. (32)

How to explain, in a culture frantic for resolution, that sometimes the shit stays messy? I do not want the female gender that has been assigned me at birth. Neither do I want the male gender that transsexual medicine can furnish and that the state will award me if I behave in the right way. I don't want any of it. How to explain that for some, or for some at some times, this irresolution is OK - desirable, even (e.g., "gender hackers") - whereas for others, or for others at some times, it stays a source of conflict or grief? How does one get across the fact that the best way to find out how people feel about their gender of their sexuality - or anything else, really - is to listen to what they tell you, and to try to treat them accordingly, without shellacking over their version of reality with yours? (53)

Homonormativity seems to me a natural consequence of the decriminalization of homosexuality: once something is no longer illicit, punishable, pathologized, or used as a lawful basis for raw discrimination or acts of violence, that phenomenon will no longer be able to represent or deliver on subversion, the subcultural, the underground, the fringe, in the same way. That's why nihilist pervs like painter Francis Bacon have gone so far as to say that they wish that the death penalty was still the punishment for homosexuality, or why outlaw fetishists like Bruce Benderson seek homosexual adventures in countries such as Romania, where one can still be imprisoned for merely hitting on someone of the same sex. "I still see homosexuality as a narrative of urban adventure, a chance to cross not only sex barriers but class and age barriers, while breaking a few laws in the process - and all for the sake of pleasure. If not, I might as well be straight," Benderson says. (73)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What I got from it

So my experience reading Robert Penn Warren's Jefferson Davis Gets His Citizenship Back was one of basically mentally adding the word "SLAVERY" after every sentence. I've never read such a gloss job. I mean he does mention it: mentions that Jefferson Davis owned slaves and that he apparently treated them well - you know, as slaves. But towards the end Warren starts to wonder how Davis would feel having his citizenship restored to him, asking: "...suppose Lincoln or Grant should have citizenship thrust upon him by the America of today. Would either happily accept citizenship in a nation that sometimes seems technologically and philosophically devoted to the depersonalization of men?"

Um...wasn't that what the South did to every person of African descent that was brought to this country from its inception to the end (and some would argue well past) of the Civil War? Are the people condemned to slavery, then, not "men"?

But other than that question, which makes me scream quite a bit in frustration, I did find an answer to another question I have - the question of what is this Southern "heritage" that so many white people of a certain stripe make reference to and try to defend. Here:

It is true that in France as well as in England there was strong sentiment against slavery, but when the idea of offering emancipation as a bribe for recognition was finally beginning to be put forward in the Confederacy it was too late to be of any use, besides striking paradoxically at a necessary, if not sufficient, reason for the war: slavery. And a parallel instance appeared when the idea of enlisting blacks for Confederate armies (with the implied promise of freedom) was successfully brought forward - a paradox best formulated by the politician Howell Cobb, of Georgia, who opposed the idea: "If slaves will make good soldiers, our whole theory of slavery is wrong." Actually, some blacks were enlisted and wore the gray, but only toward the end of the war.

So, with states' rights obviously bringing disaster [states in the Confederacy were withholding troops and supplies cause that didn't feel obligated to supply them], King Cotton dethroned [the world started getting cotton from India and other countries], and blacks wearing Confederate gray, little was left of the ideas that had made the Confederacy - only secession, in fact. But with the armies of Sherman and Grant closing in and defeatism stalking the land, what would become of that notion - a notion that for many eminent Southerners, including Davis and Lee, had been from the first dubious or rueful? Merely some notion of Southern identity remained, however hazy or fuddled; it was not until after Appomattox that the conception of Southern identity truly bloomed - a mystical conception, vague but bright, floating high beyond the criticism of brutal circumstances.

The emphasis is mine and is, to my mind, that Southern heritage which like concepts of God is so vague as to be both inexplicable and untouchable. Even Warren's "brutal circumstances" while pointed obviously at the institution of slavery is so vague that it could just as likely be about cholera or not having enough mint for the tea.

Basically, I feel that Warren shows his entitled whiteness, and overall I was left for the desire of a biography on Jefferson Davis (whom by the end of the book I felt...something for...during his imprisonment, abolitionists came forward (albeit white abolitionists) to express their desire for him to be released) written by an African American author. Because till then, his biographies I think will only get bogged down in concepts of Southern "chivalry" and "honor."

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Something From Something Else I've Read Recently

When I was in the 3rd grade, we were having one of those paperback book sales at our school library that now always makes me a little misty with nostalgia. At this particular sale, there was available a boxset of C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. I'm sure by this point I'd seen the animated (and by far much better) version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And I pined for the boxset. I pined and I protected. I allowed no other student near that collection, knowing full well that someone else, someone who wouldn't love the books as much as I would, would rip it away from me, and I'd never see these rare and precious books ever again.

I asked Ms. Dossett if I could call my Mom and begged Momma to come, to come quickly, because these had to be purchased - even if they were about $10 - which in my 3rd grade mind was more money than I had a right to ask from my parents.

Momma came, she bought, and just a few months shy of 40, I still have those same books.

Just recently I picked up The Horse and His Boy, book 5 in this version of the series (not in chronological order - which IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE READ - what do you have to be spoon-fed everything?). I've been kinda depressed and dealing with anxiety issues, so I've been reading kids books.

And "Horse" I remembered as my favorite of the books: a boy brought up by someone who didn't love him, escapes with a horse who is secretly a talking, Narnian horse and they escape through the hot desert make it to Narnia, avert an invasion, and lo and behold, the boy is discovered to be long lost royalty. It was everything I wish my life was.

Needless to say, the story has not survived well over the years. The racism is fairly blatant (just as in Lewis's buddy Tolkien's Lord of the Rings), but what can you do.

But I did read something that touched me in my current depressed, unhappy-with-everything state. In this scene, the talking horse Bree is feeling poorly because while he ran away from a lion (it ends up being the lion Aslan), Shasta (the boy/prince) stands his ground against the lion's attack, and the hermit, who is caring for the characters while Shasta is away averting an invasion, says the following:

My good Horse, you've lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don't put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense. You're not quite the great horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn't follow that you'll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you're nobody special, you'll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole, and taking one thing with another.